numinous mystery

"October" by Efim Volkov (1844-1920) Russian Realism Painter
“October” by Efim Volkov

How lovely trees are. The human species grew up in and around them. We have a natural affinity for trees. … We human beings don’t look very much like a tree. We certainly view the world differently than a tree does. But down deep, at the molecular heart of life we’re essentially identical to trees.
~ Carl Sagan
(Cosmos)

When a man plants a tree, he plants himself. Every root is an anchor, over which he rests with grateful interest, and becomes sufficiently calm to feel the joy of living.
~ John Muir
(Steep Trails)

A tree is a self: it is unseen shaping more than it is leaves or bark, roots or cellulose or fruit. … We can not point to anything physical and say, “There is the self!” This holds for the tree’s activity as well as for the human’s. What it means is that we must address trees. We must address all things, confronting them in the awareness that we are in the presence of numinous mystery. Who shapes the tree? Who shapes my thoughts? We are in the mystery of the self.
~ Brian Swimme
(The Universe Is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story)

14 thoughts on “numinous mystery”

    1. I definitely know what you mean about the sculptural beauty of leafless trees. The image above is actually a painting! I adore the works of realism painters. And I’m so grateful for the change of seasons, and all the different ways trees are content to be in the world. *hugs*

    1. Thank you so much for finding a few words, Robin. I think this is why I love (certain) quotes so much – many naturalists and scientists describe the magic and mystery of the universe so well.

  1. What gorgeous tree-hugging quotes! I happen to agree with all of them. And despite the majesty of the redwoods in CA, there is nothing like a New England woods to describe numinous mystery.

    1. Thank you, Pam! When I was in North Carolina at Duke Gardens recently I saw my first redwood. It was a dawn redwood, the smallest of all the redwoods, but it had a very strong energy surrounding it. (And I wonder if that was why it was roped off.) Someday I hope to go to California to see a giant one!

    1. Sorry I missed this comment so long ago, Sybil. But I have learned a lot from you as well, my friend!

    1. It’s impossible to imagine a world without trees, although I know full well that there are deserts and other places barren of trees…

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